2008 Goldman Prize for Teaching Excellence Award
Drew, Lassiter and Bryant Receive 2008 Goldman Teaching Excellence Award
From artfully presenting real world situations to encourage greater discussion to sharing advice every law student needs to hear, the recipients of the 2008 Goldman Prize for Teaching Excellence have all demonstrated their commitment to students and unrelenting support of the College of Law. Congratulations to the 2008 recipients: Professors Margaret Drew, Christo Lassiter, and A. Christopher Bryant.
“Leap and the net will appear” is a favorite saying of Margaret Drew, Associate Professor of Clinical Law and Director, Domestic Violence and Civil Protection Order Clinic. Though students often consider it to be one of the most difficult legal subjects, they agree that the Domestic Violence Clinic experience is one of the best opportunities the law school offers and Professor Drew is the reason why. When nominating her students noted that her excellence as a legal scholar and practicing attorney is matched equally by her style of teaching and the support she offers students. The effort she puts forth coaching and training her students to advocate at a practical level equips them with the knowledge and motivation to help others in difficult situations. The Domestic Violence clinical can be very intense work. That’s why Professor Drew advocates the importance of self care. Thus, her classes include a self care component. Students learn the unique value of drawing Gaelic spirals or playing card games—all in an effort to restore their sense of well-being and enable them to balance their own quality of life. This lesson is invaluable to a person heading into the legal profession. For this, they are forever grateful.
Professor Christo Lassiter expounds the ideal that law school is about “learning to think like a lawyer,” wrote his students when nominating him for the Goldman Award. . Merging thought-provoking hypotheticals and meaningful discussion, he challenges students to think harder while clarifying difficult legal issues. It is uncommon for a student to leave his class without having learned something! Professor Lassiter teaches courses in criminal law, criminal procedure and white collar crime. In nominating him, students noted that he is far from an intellectual lightweight. In fact, he is considered to be one of the most intelligent and well-respected professors at the College of Law. This has been exemplified by the large number of students who seek out any class they can take with him. In addition to maintaining an open door policy, Professor Lassiter demonstrates over and over that he genuinely cares about student education and their professional experiences. Students comment that his intelligence, energy, theatrics and occasional song keep them coming back!
It has been said that very few things can prepare someone for three years of law school. Even less can prepare you on how to practically apply what you’ve learned once you’ve graduated. In every class he teaches, though, Professor A. Christopher Bryant excels in all of these areas and more, say his students. His preparation before class and dedication to students afterward is extraordinary. Commented a student when nominating him, “through his careful use of the Socratic method, Professor Bryant draws the best from each individual in the class.” For him, it’s not just about getting the right answer; it’s about developing a better understanding of the world—whether that be constitutional issues or conflict of laws. At the law school Professor Bryant teaches constitutional law, American legal history, conflict of laws, and criminal law and procedure. He combines a intellectual prowess with a practical approach, making even the most complex constitutional issues understandable. Not only that, his unique charisma and charming delivery keeps students engaged in the many facets of constitutional law. Noted one student, “It takes a special teacher to connect 70s classic rock against the framework of the American two-party political system.” Professor Bryant is such a teacher and all agree he is up to the challenge.
About the Goldman Prize for Teaching Excellence
The Goldman Prize has been awarded for over 30 years. This award is unique because students nominate and choose the recipients—their professors. To make this decision the committee considers the professors’ research and public service as they contribute to superior performance in the classroom.